Last year was the first time I sold at this con, and even though attendance was really high the previous year (which is what made me think of selling there in the first place) the following year there was a lot less traffic.
I barely broke even after travel and hotel fees, and a lot of the artists around me were complaining about the low turnout and sales. When I came to set up early the tables hadn't even been set up, so artists had to wait and set up the following morning before the con opened, which added unneeded stress. Also, this alley does't have the strict rules that other cons have when it comes to displays and stability. A table behind mine had an insanely high structure, easily 20+ feet, and it was held together with packing tape and a prayer. It nearly fell several times due to the air conditioning alone. Speaking of air conditioning, myself and other artists were FREEZING! Some of us gave up and wrapped ourselves in blankets on day 2 and 3. There was also issues with too many people being behind tables. The one table had all their friends hang out with them all day and they stole all of the paying artists chairs and took up a lot of room/space needed for the surrounding artists. Staff were no where to be seen until day 3 when they ran through the aisles and threw snacks and candies to the artists, which was a nice gesture. I got a bag of Hot Fries and some kind of cookies or something, but it was completely random and before that no one had walked around to talk to us and see if we needed help at all.
I've tabled at Otakon 3+ years, which uses the same convention center and area for the artist alley, and I easily make 5 times as much money at Otakon and I prefer their tabling rules and regulations. There just wasn't enough foot traffic, organization, or attendees for me to reconsider selling at this one again.
April 6, 2016, 4:08 pm
I came, I saw, I made a pretty good profit
Possibly my best convention of 2015! Foot traffic was a little slow on Friday (isn't it always!), but things really picked up about an hour into Saturday and remained busy for the rest of the show. The Inner Harbor was hosting a book fair that same weekend, and I think there was a fair amount of cross pollination between the two shows that probably bumped up the number of attendees.
Overall people seemed to be in a spending mood. I sold a decent amount of pins and keychains, and my prints were pretty popular too! Stephen Universe and video game themed items did well, but superhero comic characters not so much (oversaturation maybe?). I also got several sizeable commissions. This show is known for being very artist-oriented, which makes it popular with collectors looking for original pieces.
I do have a few minor gripes with this show (not enough trash cans, ridiculously loud PA announcements), but overall it was an enjoyable con that I look forward to attending next year!